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(aka "Kyo" )


directed by Kon Ichikawa
Italy/Japan 1969


Commissioned by the Italian Olivetti Arte as a goodwill present to Japan with whom they were forging cultural relations, KYOTO is best described as an art film as even acclaimed director Kon Ichikawa (THE BURMESE HARP) could not categorize it as documentary, educational film, tourist film, or cultural film (or even an art film as it was described by the press). The mix of topics (the Ryoanji stone garden, Zen Buddhism, relgious begging, the Saihoji Temple moss garden, geishas, an exploration of the Katsura imperial villa, and the Gion Festival) is touched upon with varying degrees of thoroughness by poet/scripter Shuntarô Tanikawa (THE WANDERERS) out of a "keen desire to rethink what Japan meant" to him after a long stay in Western Europe. The descriptive narration is omnipresent but can viewers may be more interested in how the film embodies what Japanese culture expert Donald Richie described as "the Ichikawa look" owing less to traditional art than graphic design in its asymmetrical yet precise framing, as the images unfold beneath the dissonant scoring of esteemed composer Toru Takemitsu (KWAIDAN).

Eric Cotenas

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DVD Review: Marty Gross Films - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Marty Gross Films

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 37:22

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 6.74 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono; Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 mono; Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Marty Gross Films

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
� Tokyo and Kyoto Premiere Screening featurette (4:3; 17:06)
� Printed insert with statements from the director, writer, and composer

DVD Release Date: 2015

Chapters 9





Scanned in 2.3K at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Italy from a print provided by Tokyo's National Film Center, the single-layer DVD from Marty Gross Films is not maxxed out in bitrate or file size considering that the total of the short and extra is less than an hour, but mid-range encode is supportive of the detail available in this positive print source which is on the dark side, with some deliberately higher contrasts in the monochrome shots. The short is due out on DVD in Japan, presumably from the same master (or at least the same print material). Audio options include the English mono narration by DEAD OF NIGHT's Michael Redgrave, the Japanese by Hiroshi Akutagawa (TORA! TORA! TORA!), and the Italian by stage actor Giancarlo Sbragia (NEST OF VIPERS). The sole video extra is newsreel footage of the premieres in Tokyo and Kyoto that focuses more on the impressive guest list than the film itself. An insert features statements from the period by the writer, director, and composer.

  - Eric Cotenas


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